Buffalo Bills running back Marshawn Lynch (ankle) did not practice and did not attend practice Wednesday, Nov. 14. Lynch sprained his ankle in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins in Week 10. Head coach Dick Jauron said he was "not optimistic" Lynch would be available to play in Week 11. He also said it is possible Lynch could miss more than one game with the ankle injury. Running back Dwayne Wright and running back Anthony Thomas will likely split the workload while Lynch is out.
Lynch has put up some terrific numbers in his rookie season. So far this season, he has rushed for 751 yards and six touchdowns, making him the fifth-leading rusher in the NFL. The rookie has also been a factor out of the backfield catching 15 passes for 120 yards. The loss of Lynch will be a big blow to fantasy owners because he was becoming one of the more dependable running backs in fantasy football.
Wright and Thomas will replace Lynch, but one will likely be more valuable than the other. Wright will probably see more time on first and second down, while Thomas will play on obvious passing downs and spell Wright on some first and second downs. This season, Wright has rushed for 76 yards on 26 carries. Thomas has only rushed for 12 yards on 10 carries, but most of his carries were around the goal line. If an owner wants to pick up Lynch's replacement, Wright will likely be given more opportunities than Thomas.
One good replacement for Lynch is Green Bay Packers running back Ryan Grant. He has rushed for 305 yards on 72 carries and one touchdown this season. He has rushed for over 100 yards twice in his last three games. His next two opponents are the Carolina Panthers and the Detroit Lions, so he has a chance to rack up some more yards. Grant is available in 81 percent of casual and 14 percent of competitive leagues polled.
Another option for Lynch owners is Miami Dolphins running back Jesse Chatman. Chatman was thrown into the starting lineup when running back Ronnie Brown (knee) injured his knee and was placed on Injured Reserve. He has rushed 320 yards on 63 carries on one touchdown this season. He is coming off a 124-yard performance against the Bills. He may be more of a longer-term replacement because the Dolphins have back-to-back tough road games against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Chatman is available in 56 percent of casual and 9 percent of competitive leagues polled.
About Tim Piotrowski
Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.
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